I never set out to be a crocheter. I never thought it would be something that I consider core to my identity. Looking back, it’s been a fairly obvious path for me. Here are the ten steps that led to me becoming a crocheter.
Step One: Be surrounded by handmade items from an early age.
My great grandma was a crocheter, but I don’t recall ever seeing her in the process of crocheting. (She was also an excellent seamstress and quilter.) From my earliest memories I had handmade blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals that she had made specifically for me. In addition we had various household decor items (stuffed pumpkins, covers for plastic Easter eggs, and many more things) that she had crocheted. Seeing these things on a daily basis imbued me with a curiosity that did not manifest for many years, but when it did, it became part of my drive to be a crocheter – a way to connect with the past and with someone who my family had lost.
Step Two: Have someone try to teach you how to knit.
Knitting was what truly began my journey. Having handmade items around was the spark, Knitting was my first step. You see, my mom is a knitter and when I was a kid, I expressed interest in learning how to knit. After all, she was making socks, sweaters, dish rags, and all sorts of intricate items. I wanted to learn to do something like that too. She took me to a gathering of knitters that was full of experienced people like my mother, and amateurs like me. I learned the basics of knitting that day, but the most I ever made were a couple half scarves, one of which was claimed by my grandma’s cat Spike.
Step Three: Reject knitting, reject cross stitch, and stick to reading.
Needless to say, for a 9-year-old who liked to play outside and let her imagination run wild, knitting was a bit tedious. I gave up on it, and the following cross stitch catastrophe of my childhood (though I’ve picked that up again and it really isn’t as difficult as I’d thought) made me want to give up on crafts altogether. So I did give up. And I stuck to reading and my other identifying activity, writing.
Steps Four: Notice someone crocheting and think “that’s pretty cool.”
When I was a little older, I noticed that my mom was doing something other than knitting. She told me it was crochet, and I asked if she would teach me. She did, and I practiced for a few weeks before falling out of the habit.
Step Five: Finish your first project.
When I came back to crochet, it was to make a blanket. I was a junior in high school, didn’t care much for following a “pattern” (who needed that? I was a free spirit!) and so came up with my own design. I didn’t finish it that year, or the next. Crochet was still a very new and time consuming hobby for me. Not to mention I was forging out on my own, without the aid of a pattern. So if something wasn’t right, I wasn’t always sure how to fix it right away. I finished the blanket during my freshman year of college. Then I packaged it up and sent it to my grandpa, who kept and used it until he passed away, and it was returned to me.
Step Six: start crocheting frequently in college to deal with stress.
After I finished that first blanket, I started working on another. I made a star blanket for one grandma, a simple double crochet blanket for my other grandma. A hexagon block blanket for my dad, a flower block blanket for my brother’s then-girlfriend. I made so many blankets, hats, and scarves for my friends and family. I was always crocheting. College was stressful, and I needed to do something to chill me out.
Step Seven: Buy books that teach you more stitches and work on more in depth patterns.
During my college crochet years, I started using actual patterns. Not for things like hats and scarves, but for the blankets. I learned more intricate stitches, and different techniques. My mom told me that I had surpassed her skill in crochet. Now I have a small library of crochet books, and many saved patterns on my computer. More than I’ll ever get to, I’m sure.
Step Eight: Build a stash of tools and materials.
I started with one hook that I used for everything. Until I realized that different size hooks were actually pretty important for some patterns. So I bought more. And I knew that if I was going to keep crocheting, I would need yarn. I am still working through some of the yarn from my college days. But I also branched out into the exciting realm of plarn (plastic bag yarn) and t-shirt yarn. Both of which have been especially rough on my hands. I’ve continued with “fabric yarn” (I don’t use many t-shirts as much as I do old sheets) and like that for rugs.
Step Nine: Fill your house with crochet items, sell a few to friends and family.
My house is now full of crochet rugs, blankets, and other useful home items like mug cozies, hot pads, and pillows. I started to jump into thread crochet not long ago, and made some decorative wall hangings with embroidery floss. I sold two of them two my dad. I started teaching a friend how to crochet, and she commissioned a baby blanket from me as well.
Step Ten: Start a blog and open an online shop.
I’ve been playing with the idea of a blog and online shop for about 8 months. Tried to start a couple of craft blogs but wasn’t quite there yet. Now I am here, with a blog and a shop and I am ready to go! I’m excited to share patterns, tips, and projects with you. So please, stick around, follow, leave a comment and let’s get crocheting!